By Jordan Cohen
Just when Niles City Council thought it was done with the noise controversy over concerts at McMenamy’s Restaurant and Banquet Center, an attorney has brought the issue back to the forefront by threatening a lawsuit against the city.
In addition, the attorney, David Neel of Cleveland, alleges restaurant owner Robert Leonard circumvents the city’s revised noise ordinance by making it appear that the concerts are for charity when they are not.
Neal represents Robert Ludt of Niles and David Anderson of Weathersfield Township who live near the Youngstown-Warren Road restaurant.
Ludt is also a Niles police officer.
Council thought it had resolved the issue in 2009 when it revised the noise ordinance and permitted an exemption for charitable events.
Neel claimed to council that McMenamy’s owners are going around the exemption by producing cans of food provided by patrons for charity so that they can claim an exemption under the ordinance.
“They’re taking advantage of a loophole in the ordinance,” Neel said, “and it’s gone on too long.”
Neel said he is ready to sue the city “next week” because it has yet to comply with his request for records of noise complaints.
“It’s practically impossible for us to provide all those records so quickly because his request is voluminous,” said Atty. J. Terrence Dull, Niles law director.
“[Neel] wants all noise complaints since January 2005 whether they involve McMenamy’s, another bar or even a house party.”
However, city council, apparently concerned about Neel’s allegations of subterfuge on the part of the restaurant, unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday morning for the law director to investigate whether the charity exemption is being exploited.
Neel recently filed a lawsuit against the restaurant, Leonard and retired police Chief Bruce Simeone. The suit alleges Simeone refused to enforce the ordinance because he is a friend of Leonard’s. Simeone, who retired Wednesday, could not be reached to comment.
A call seeking a response from Leonard was not returned.